Nicole Zhang, a 2018 graduate of Amador Valley High School, has been recognized as one of the country’s most outstanding high school leaders by The Coca‑Cola Scholars Foundation and awarded a $20,000 college scholarship.

A joint effort of Coca-Cola bottlers across America and The Coca-Cola Company, The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has awarded a total of $66 million in scholarships since 1986, making it one of the largest corporate-sponsored, achievement-based scholarship programs of its kind in the country.

As a member of the 30th Class of Coca‑Cola Scholars, Zhang was selected as one of only 150 Coca-Cola Scholars from an initial pool of 140,000 applicants from across the country.

“Ms. Zhang not only exemplifies superior leadership, service, and academics – she is a change agent, positively affecting others in our community,” said Julie Hamilton, Chairman of the Board of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and Senior Vice-President, Global Customer & Commercial Leadership, The Coca-Cola Company. “It’s a pleasure to welcome her to our growing family of over 6,000 alumni.”

Zhang, who is also a National Merit Scholar, graduated as valedictorian of her class and will be attending Harvard University. She plans on majoring in Economics and is interested in pursuing a career in public policy, education and community leadership.

As the Student Board Member on the PUSD School Board and co-founder/president of the Pleasanton Student Inter-schools Action Council, Zhang has worked to represent the voice of students across the district and improve the education system.

“I strive to build the capacity for a more equitable campus, curriculum, and community that embraces diversity,” said Zhang, who has also served as president of Amador Student SEED and chairperson of the Amador School Site Council. “I look forward to continuing to make a difference in college.”

A competitive soccer player for the Pleasanton RAGE Girls Soccer Club and Amador Valley’s varsity team, she plans to continue playing club soccer at Harvard.

On May 24, Zhang was recognized at Amador Valley High School’s senior awards ceremony for her selection as a Coca-Cola Scholar. Dr. Micaela Ochoa, Deputy Superintendent of Business Services for the Pleasanton Unified School District, also received an Educator of Distinction Award from The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for greatly impacting Zhang’s development and vision of education.

For more information on The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and a complete list of the 2018 scholars, please visit www.coca-colascholarsfoundation.org.